Record-breaking Virginia State Trooper credits mom for instilling discipline

BEDFORD, Va. -- No matter how old Ed Tinsley was, he knew his mother had his back.

"She was concerned about my safety," Tinsley said. "She was a super, super person in my life. The only things I was taught as a state trooper, I already learned from my mother."

The Bedford, Virginia native credited Fannie Tinsley with providing the discipline he needed to serve.

"My mother, from the first thing I can remember, told me and my brothers to stand up straight and put your chest out. That is the healthy way of doing it. She was ahead of the military and state police on that one," Tinsley recalled.

Fannie’s attention to detail would serve Ed well while wearing the uniform.

"I was already ready for the drill instructor,” he said.

After three years in the United States Marines, Ed joined Virginia State Police at age 21 and kept working.

"I was hire almost 60 years ago today," he said. "I was hired August 16, 1959."

Ed’s career patrolling Central Virginia and Amherst County spanned a record 48 years. Working for so long, you’re bound to witness history. The 82-year-old remembers working Civil Rights marches during the 1960s.

"I would say this on behalf of Martin Luther King, Jr., he taught and preached equal rights for everyone. The one thing he had that worked every time -- non-violence,” Tinsley said.

But Tinsley did witness violence during protests over the Vietnam War.

"I’ve stood on lines at Virginia Tech when they were burning buildings down up there and I had students say, ‘Trooper, you know we are right [and] this war is wrong. This war is wrong.’ I said, ‘I may agree with you with what you are saying, and you can’t go out and be disruptive and burn buildings and do things like that,’” Tinsley said.

Tinsley prided himself on being firm, but fair all while maintaining a quick wit.

"I have read that a person who has humor in their life can live generally six to eight years longer,” he said.

In June 2007, the Virginia State Trooper retired after nearly a half century in uniform.

"That was never a big thing for me where I was a trooper forever and I did this and I did that," he said. "I miss it because I love being around people. I love associating with people and communicating with them."

Ed Tinsley said he’s lucky to have worked with such a stellar organization. The record holder said Virginia State Police helped make him the man he is today.

“Oh yeah. That and my momma,” he said.

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